Retirement can present a mental challenge to former players, according to Ray Parlour

Feb 05, 15 Retirement can present a mental challenge to former players, according to Ray Parlour

Former Arsenal and England midfielder Ray Parlour has highlighted the difficulties former players face when their careers are over.

Following Clarke Carlisle’s revelation that he attempted to take his own life last year, Parlour admits it’s difficult to adjust to a normal existence after leading a ‘regimented life’ since your teenage years.

Carlisle, a former chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association, spent six weeks in hospital after being hit by a lorry in Yorkshire following a failed suicide bid last December.

 

“I think Clarke Carlisle went through a few problems like that, depressive times, and it’s such a shame to hear players who can’t cope. It’s a very, very hard life to have after football sometimes.”

The former Leeds and QPR defender admitted he was in a state of depression having two days earlier been charged with failing to provide a sample when stopped on suspicion of drink driving.

And 35-year-old Carlisle also pointed to his retirement, and the transition required to adjust, as the time when he first started to experience mental challenges.

After leaving hospital last week, Carlisle, along with his wife Gemma, said he hopes the decision to speak out will help ‘highlight and create understanding of mental health issues’.

And Parlour admits the issues former footballers face in grasping for a foothold in their post-playing life can be enduring.

“You start at a very young age, 16 years old when you go into the football club, and that’s all you know,” he told the Morning View on Sky Sports News HQ.

“So when you do get to your mid-30s, coming to the end of your career, it’s very difficult. Sometimes players have plans for what they want to do, they go down the coaching route, or do other things, business ventures.

‘Regimental life’

“But being a footballer. it’s a very regimental life: do this, do that, being told what to do. It’s difficult for some players to adapt to normal life.

“I think Clarke Carlisle went through a few problems like that, depressive times, and it’s such a shame to hear players who can’t cope. It’s a very, very hard life to have after football sometimes.”

And former Arsenal team-mate Paul Merson admitted he too struggled to adjust once his playing days were over after spells with Aston Villa and Middlesbrough.

 

“The thing I missed probably more than anything was that 30 minutes in the dressing room in the morning.”

“It is tough to adjust to life after football,” said Merson, who in the past has admitted to having problems with gambling and alcohol,

“The thing I missed probably more than anything was that 30 minutes in the dressing room in the morning,” he said.

“That was it. It wasn’t the football, I knew I had come to the end and I was steadily moving down the leagues, but that 30 minutes was the real thing.

“I was very lucky I got a job at Sky and I am very grateful for that. It’s exactly the same, you get in Saturday mornings or Thursday with the lads for Fantasy Football and you have that bit of a banter and you have that laugh and a joke. So I have been very lucky but I can understand how players can really, really miss it.”

And Nolberto Solano, echoed both the former Arsenal players’ sentiments, insisting it is vital players plan ahead for their retirement.

Solano, who gave up the game aged 37 in 2012, said he had already outlined a coaching career for himself long before he decided to call quits.

“You need to prepare: it’s hard, it’s difficult, when you’ve been playing for so long because it’s part of your life. It’s half of your life,” he said.

“Always, it was in my mind, ‘I want to be a coach’. But it’s hard when some people aren’t thinking about it and straight away football stops for you. It can be difficult.”

February 5 is Time To Talk day, a day where people are encouraged to have a conversation about mental health.

 

For full links to this article in www1.skysports.com please (CLICK HERE)

 

 

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